Now Featured at the Patheos Book Club
Turning Broken Dreams Into New Beginnings
By Sheridan Voysey
An Interview with Sheridan Voysey
Sheridan, your new book is entitled Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings. What is a Resurrection Year?
I'd describe a resurrection year as a year of new life following the death of a dream. I'd love to take credit for the phrase, but it was the British author Adrian Plass who suggested it to me. I was talking to Adrian off-air one day after interviewing him on my radio show. We'd gotten to know each other a little over the years and so I told him about the difficult journey my wife, Merryn, and I had recently been on, and how we were thinking of starting the new year afresh. He listened intently and then said, "In the Christian scheme of things, new beginnings come after the death of something, just as Jesus' resurrection followed his crucifixion. After what you've just told me, I think a 'Resurrection Year' is just what you need."
For your Resurrection Year, you and your wife Merryn left Australia, traveled in Europe, and resettled in Oxford, England. What broken dream where you moving on from?
Our broken dream was not being able to start a family. We had pursued that dream for 10 years—through special diets, healing prayer, numerous rounds of IVF [in vitro fertilization] and even a two-year wait on the Australian adoption list. By the end of that 10 years, Merryn was in a mess. She needed a new beginning. Apart from longing to become a mum, Merryn's only other dream was to live and work overseas. When she was offered a job at Oxford University, we saw it as God's way for that secondary dream to become a reality.
How did you finally decide to stop trying to have a child?
In short, because we couldn't continue on anymore.
Proverbs 13:12 says that hope deferred makes the heart sick. Well, Merryn's heart was sick. The constant waiting picks away at the fabric of your being—waiting each month when you're first trying for a child; waiting for blood test results when you're doing IVF; waiting for the phone call when you're waiting to adopt. Your emotions get a battering during this wait, as your hopes are constantly raised then dashed. As we approached our 10th year of waiting and also approached the age of 40 when fertility becomes even harder, we decided to try one last round of IVF before bringing the journey to an end. As readers of Resurrection Year will discover, that final round was eventful.
You left a significant platform in Australia as a national radio show host, best-selling author and speaker. Why?
Because Merryn needed me to. Having seen her reduced to tears night after night from having her first dream denied, I couldn't watch her miss out on a second. But I wasn't the hero in this. Leaving my career and ministry in Australia was hard. I didn't leave it with a light heart or the joy of a saint who delights in sacrifice. In the book, I describe our experience of infertility as our "wilderness" journey. To some degree, leaving Australia and coming to the U.K. plunged me into a second wilderness experience—not knowing who I was or what my purpose was to be. But God has been up to something all along, and this book is part of it. A whole new season of ministry is beginning—a very unexpected one.
Why was taking time to settle with God important during your traveling?
Our travels through Europe ... helped us to see the "bigness" of life again. The historic and artistic glories of Rome opened our eyes to a larger world than we'd been seeing. The lovely Italian ritual of la passeggiata—an evening stroll through the village when one catches up with the neighbors—was restorative. The natural beauty of Switzerland was overwhelming. All up, our European trip was a chance to play again, to be amazed by beauty and to let some of the dead leaves of our old life float away.
What do you hope people will gain from your story?
Resurrection Year is a book for those who have experienced a broken dream or for those who know someone who has. I hope Resurrection Year will breathe new life and hope into these and other readers, helping them to realize that a broken dream doesn't have to define one's life, and that while God is sometimes silent, He is never absent.
Most people aren't able to make such a drastic life change like you were able. What are some ways people can have a "Resurrection Year?"
You may not be able to leave home and move countries to recover from your broken dream. No matter. It's been two years since our Resurrection Year and, as I reflect back on it, I see it had four main elements that can be experienced in any number of ways: